Coming home from Namibia

Rejoining the ‘Notes from my Moleskine‘ series, we round up the final three pages from the first Lucozade Challenge: Sandboarding in Nambia.

—– Shofat, Manzoor, Sam, Me, Foyce and Suhel —–

Moleskine entry: July 12th, 2009

I’m home, at last…

We were all supposed to be back Saturday (today is Sunday), but early morning fog meant we couldn’t land in Walvis Bay and so we missed our connection. 24hrs in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, ensued. Forget the delay, the most hilarious thing I saw in those 24hrs was our pilot, Elsa, texting the control tower telling them she couldn’t see them

I digress, the important part is:

I am home.

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Learnings & Memories

: Four kids from Brum can be all the company you’ll ever need for an extreme sports holiday to Africa.

: The stars. They still amaze me.

: A midnight meteor shower over the plains of Damaraland – breathtaking.

: Shofat walking (and subsequently falling) into the swimming pool in Serra Cafeme.

: Dries. Sandboarding. Brilliant.

: Must buy a circular polariser for the camera.

: Satphones can be incredibly useful and yet incredibly infuriating at the same time.

: Lions. Outside the tent.

: Quad-biking at dusk.

: Taking so many photos – a joy.

: Power! She needs more power Cap’n!

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The winners for stage two have been drawn and the competition for stage three opens real soon. Between now and then however, I’ll be Cattle Ranching through Wyoming. I’ve never ridden a horse before, let’s see how that works out…

Before I close the book on stage one mind, I need to make sure I write something about Eric & Raymond.

These were the two guys that held our hands and showed us the way the whole time we were there in Namibia. Without them it would’ve a been very, very boring trip and probably quite rubbish too.

Gents, I tip my hat. Thank you, both of you. You made it all worthwhile.

Notes from Namibia

Moleskine entry: July 9th, 2009

I’ve never flown this far South before. Cape Town is 10hrs straight down. Damaraland, Namibia 2hrs back up again.

The stars are very different here.

Last night we slept out under the skies, in the middle of a half-million hectare concession, where people, wildlife and animals all co-exist together. Rhino, Springbok, Zebra, Giraffe, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant and Ostrich. We’re told there’s no real danger, but we’re quiet all the same.

On the way out, Eric – our guide – remarks that the stripes of a Zebra are as unique as that of a human fingerprint.

“Zebras have human fingerprints?”…asks a not-really-listening Suhel.
“Yes Suhel, Zebras have human fingerprints.”

We laugh, uncontrollably.

Lions walked past through our camp, right past them. There are paw prints outside my door. I heard them late, out there in the dark, purring their deep, low grumble. Not quite a growl, not quite a roar but still… that sound.

A glimpse through the window revealed nothing. I could see the light from a distant toilet-tent knocking gently in the trees, but that is all. The moonlight, so bright out here in the middle of nowhere, shines down clearly, basking all in pale illumination.  But I see nothing.

Still, I hear them mumble.

6000 miles from home: Cape Town

Apologies if this is a little out of time, but – as I mentioned in my last post – that’s how things are going to roll around here for a bit, at least, when it comes to talking about my epic Summer of travel.

Cheers and as always, your comments and questions are welcome 🙂

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Moleskine entry: July 5th, 2009

All aboard...

Day one of my epic Summer of travelling so far has consisted of… well not very much really.
Admittedly, I’ve moved a certain distance, what with hurtling through the sky at 500mph and everything, but I’ve actually spent most of the time sleeping.

Night flights are my favourite kind.

There are six of us on this trip. Me, your official storyteller. Sam, my partner in crime and also my one and only constant over the next ten weeks… and of course our first four competition winners.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Lucozade Energy Challenges as a concept, let me tell you that it was a brand new one on me too. One winner, plus four of his/her friends, every other week taking a particular challenge for which a new skillset is required. Each activity is set in a different far-flung part of the world and they all require the chosen four to learn said skill quite quickly before partaking in a competition of some kind. All in the name the new Lucozade Energy tag-line ‘Do More’.

The full list of competition details can be seen on the Lucozade Energy Challenge website, meanwhile – let’s get back to our story shall we?

Me, as you know, got this gig just a couple of weeks back. Sam? The same. However, his role is different to mine in that he to be the group’s designated ‘Chaperone’ over the coming weeks and, judging by the first few hours, he’s going to be good very company indeed… 🙂

Time to meet the winners of the first competition; Manzoor and his three friends, Shofat, Suhel and Foyce.

They’re a good bunch of lads. Football players from Brum would you believe, and they’re just a little bit excited.

Heh.

At the time of writing we’re about 10mins from touchdown in Cape Town, Shofat’s just woken up and we’re discussing the prospect of seeing some Black Rhinos over the next few days. You see, this particular challenge – Sandboarding in Namibia – isn’t all about the taking on the extreme sports of the Skeleton Coast, it also involves tracking down the aforementioned huge beasts as part of a desert safari.

What?

There’s got to be something to fill in the gaps between all the epic sandboarding, right?
Next stop: Namibia!

Making notes for the future

I’ve never had a formal notebook before.

I’ve always tried to carry a pad of some kind. Some of you may already know of my penchant for writing the occasional blog post in long hand first.

Well, for the ‘Epic Summer of Travel‘ (as I’ve taken to calling it), I’ve decided to take the plunge with my first ever Moleskine.

Taking notes, drawing pictures and collecting keepsakes, this book is now my friend and guide. So If blog posts start appearing over the coming weeks that seem a little out of date, now you know why.

Just thought I’d let you know.

🙂